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M.A. Criminal Justice



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MA in Criminal Justice curriculum overview:

Provides students with an academic foundation for managerial and other advanced professional roles in criminal justice. The program is also designed to prepare individuals to teach at the community college level or to prepare those interested in furthering their education at the doctoral level. Students complete five professional core classes, six electives, and complete an exit requirement consisting of a thesis, professional project, or comprehensive exams.

Your plan of study:

Once admitted to MA in Criminal Justice , you will work with an advisor to plan the courses you will take and how you will complete the academic requirements of the program. By filing this Program Plan (PDF form), you have a road map for completing your degree and clarity on what to expect.

Courses for the Masters of Arts in Criminal Justice:

Course Descriptions

Catalog Descriptions

CJ 608 Graduate Studies Workshop (1 credit)

Students must take CJ-608, “Graduate Studies Workshop,” during their first term. This one-unit course (which is offered each term) introduces students to the methods, theories, and strategies of graduate study, to the online resources available at Hamersly Library, and to our online delivery platform-Canvas. It also serves as a point of initial academic advising wherein students will decide on an exit strategy, write a preliminary exit proposal, and begin the process of selecting a graduate advisor/committee.

CJ 612 Research in Criminal Justice (4 credits)

Course examines research techniques and methods necessary for a comprehensive understanding of crime, criminal justice, and their relationship to policy construction and implementation. Course will explore quantitative and qualitative social research methodologies, and examine their application in the study of crime and criminal justice in a variety of geographic environments (e.g. rural and/or urban settings).

CJ 617 Criminal Justice Administration and Organizational Behavior (4 credits)

Review of theories of organization and administration, the application of these theories to criminal justice system organizations; review of research on criminal justice administration and organization.

CJ 618 Theory of Criminal Law (4 credits)

Development and application of criminal law in America. Focus on a variety of issues germane to the history and implementation of criminal law. Course will address philosophical, sociological, psychological and biological contributions to criminal law, and the implications of these contributions on social policies will be explored.

CJ 619 Ethics and Leadership in Criminal Justice Organizations (4 credits)

Course examines major theories of leadership and ethics relevant to criminal justice and social service institutions. Emphasis is placed on leadership and its relationship to ethics. Various models of leadership and research relevant to the criminal justice setting are discussed.

CJ 620 Offender Treatment (4 credits)

Exploration of various offender treatment programs. Students will examine the theoretical foundation for those programs, as well as the social, economic and political implications associated with adult and juvenile offender treatment programs.

CJ 621 Human Resource Management in Criminal Justice (4 credits)

Students will explore the recruiting, selection, training, assignment, discipline and promotion of personnel in criminal justice. Emphasis is on the philosophy, theory and practice of human resource management in the contemporary public safety agency.

CJ 622 Strategic Planning in Criminal Justice (4 credits)

Students will explore the development and design of strategic planning to provide the competence to develop a strategic plan for a criminal justice agency. Strategic planning will be contrasted to tactical planning and intuitive planning.

CJ 623 Criminal Justice Research: Explore and Initiate (4 credits)

This course is designed to lay the groundwork for developing a successful capstone project by shepherding students through the process of planning and conducting applied research. In this course students will develop a research topic, complete a literature review, and research proposal.

CJ 624 Criminal Justice Research: Construct and Compile (4 credits)

Building upon the previous capstone course, in this course students will conduct research, analyze and interpret data, and report findings.

CJ 625 Criminal Justice Research: Compose and Complete (4 credits)

Part III of the Capstone coursework series is designed to enhance students’ professional writing by producing a final, polished draft of their capstone project that represents the culmination of their Master’s Degree work. Additionally, they will create summaries of the implications of their project for both specialized and general audiences in formats appropriate to either an academic or a workplace setting.

CJ 627 Quantitative Methods in Social Science (4 credits)

This is a graduate level course that aims to provide an understanding of the concepts of probability, common distributions, statistical methods, and analyses of data. Students will master a software package and learn how to interpret and present ideas from their fields of study using these acquired statistical technological skills.

CJ 653 Advanced Corrections (4 credits)

Explores the modern era of corrections. Examines the massive increase in prisons and incarceration rates driving the past several decades. Students will be required to critically analyze past and current prison and post-prison practices. Students will be required to develop corrections models that would serve as “best practice” solutions to problems and/or inconsistencies in previous and current models of corrections.

CJ 656 Contemporary Issues in Criminal Justice (4 credits)

A study of contemporary issues in criminal justice.

CJ 660 Advanced Criminology (4 credits)

Graduate students will have an opportunity to explore advanced applications of theory and social research methodologies. Students will be required to develop and apply critical analysis of a variety of theoretical and methodological applications within the realm of criminal justice and the broader study of crime.


If you haven’t found the information you need or are still not sure where to direct your question, contact Amber Deets at or 503-838-8492

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